Remote Work: Tips for Law Firms
In the last five years alone (and pre-COVID-19), remote work has grown 44%, according to an analysis done by Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs. Additionally, 90% of employees say allowing for more flexible work arrangements and schedules would increase employee morale, which directly correlates to employee retention. This drastic increase is largely a result of technology, which makes remote work seamless and desirable.
For law firms specifically, there are two common approaches to remote workers. The first is to have an entirely virtual firm, meaning that the entire staff works remotely. The second is to have policies in place that allow employees to work from home on designated days of the week.
In order to have success with remote workers, consider the following tips:
1. DEVELOP A WRITTEN POLICY
An unspoken or inconsistent “rule of thumb” for working from home won’t set your law firm up for success. Instead, it’s best to put a written policy in place that answers questions like:
- When are your employees expected to be available online?
- How do they need to communicate if they’ll be offline (for a doctor’s appointment or something similar)?
- Will all positions be eligible or just some?
2. PROVIDE THE RIGHT TOOLS
In order for people to effectively work from home, they need to have the proper tools. You probably already talk to clients through email and video conferencing, but software can help you go further than that. Clio, for example, allows you to manage your firm entirely from the cloud. It allows you to:
- Manage cases, organize contacts and automate documents.
- Generate bills, run reports and get paid faster (thanks to online payments and automated billing).
- Stay on top of deadlines, with legal-specific features like Court Rules.
- Track your time.
- And much more.
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3. CREATE CYBERSECURITY PRACTICES
Although remote work provides a plethora of benefits to both companies and employees, it does also create new and increased security risks. That said, these risks can be largely mitigated with the right practices in place from the get-go. Your cybersecurity policy should address things like:
- Avoid public WiFi, as it adds a significant security risk.
- Encrypt sensitive data in emails and on your device.
- Make sure the “Find My Device” option is turned on, if available.
- Report any issues to your supervisor immediately.
Working from home is a trend that isn’t going away, especially considering there are significant benefits to both the employer and the employee. In addition, technology will continue to make it easier as the youngest millennials are making their way into the workforce — with Gen Z right behind them.